India: Bhuvan Ganga (Ganges) Web Portal

The recently launched Bhuvan Ganga web portal and the Bhuvan Ganga mobile application will use existing geospatial information and crowd-sourced reporting to monitor pollution levels in the River Ganga (Ganges). The data portal already provides access to a variety of geospatial information including as flood hazard zones and environmental data and visitors to the site will be able to contribute to the project by uploading shapefiles and WMS layers.

Impressed by geospatial resources such as Google Earth, but concerned about potential misuses of the information following the terrorist attacks in Mumbai in 2008, the Indian Government launched its own version, describing Bhuvan as a gateway to the geospatial world. The benefits of providing open access to national, regional and local geospatial information outweighed lingering concerns over potential future attacks. Over the last seven years the site has developed into a comprehensive resource of geospatial datasets and services.

The Bhuvan geoportal includes high resolution satellite image, hydrological layers (basins, sub-basin, watershed boundaries and drainage), natural resources information (land use/land cover, wasteland, soil, geology & geomorphology and urban growth), disaster related layers, water resources projects and canal network. Continuous update of the portal is planned with water quality maps using satellite data, after integrating with the field measured water quality data.

The user-friendly, android mobile application is developed to enable the public to collect and report information on various pollution sources that affect the water quality of the river Ganga. The app has provision to collect information regarding urban sewage, semi-urban/rural sewage, natural drains/nallas, industrial waste water, solid waste disposal or any other pollution source. The first version of the application is available for download from the Bhuvan Ganga portal.

New project to assess hazard exposure in five African countries

The Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR) recently awarded a contract for the development of a physical exposure database for five countries in Africa: Ethiopia, Kenya, Niger, Senegal, and Uganda. Key project tasks include development of spatial data on structural and infrastructural assets and estimates of their replacement costs; projection of the spatial distribution of population and Gross Domestic Product in the year 2050 consistent with socioeconomic scenario data currently under development by the research and assessment community; and collaboration with four other teams to support the integration of the exposure data with assessments of earthquake, flood, drought, and landslide hazards. Project partners include ImageCat, CIESIN, the University of Colorado Boulder, SecondMuse, and the Regional Centre for Mapping of Resources for Development (RCMRD) in Nairobi.

Read details here

AARSE Survey on the Utilization of African National Earth Observation Satellite Products

The African Association of Remote Sensing of the Environment (AARSE) launched an online survey to the African community working in the field of remote sensing and geospatial information to gather more information about the satellite sensors available in Africa, the remotely sensed data usage in research and development, as well as policies.
The survey had 10 questions that ranged from availability and accessibility of data to the policy. The results of the survey have been summarized in a report. The results will help in understanding the factors that foster or hinder the access and usage of remotely sensed data.

Read report here

Regional Forum on National SDI calls for harmonised spatial data management

The Regional Centre for Mapping of Resources for Development (RCMRD) organized a two-day Regional National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI) forum in Kigali, Rwanda with local host Rwanda Natural Resources Authority.

The forum was attended by RCMRD member countries’ representatives, advisors from countries that have successfully implemented NSDI (South Africa, USA, Malaysia), resource experts, potential participants from other parts of Africa, and other Spatial Data Infrastructures stakeholders and RCMRD partners.

The first day of the forum focused on the basics of NSDI, definitions and the realities of implementation and management, legal and political factors, institutional frameworks and the sustainability of NSDIs.
The second day focused on the benefits of Spatial Data Infrastructures, examining the readiness of NSDI for countries and acquiring buy-in. In addition, there was a focus on case studies of NSDI initiatives in selected countries and challenges in the implementation process of NSDIs. Technical experts also had the opportunity to demonstrate samples of geo-portals at a stand within the venue.

Seychelles: WebGIS of Ministry of Land Use and Housing (MLUH) facilitates national Strategic Plan

The Seychelles Planning Authority hits the ground running. No sooner had the kick off meeting for the project to prepare the country’s new Strategic Plan been organised, the Planning Authority started with its consultations with key stakeholders from across the Government, NGO, district Authorities and Private sectors. This of course is an essential element of the project being implemented with the support of a London based international consulting firm, ARUP, recruited for that purpose.

The aim of the Plan is to build on existing aspirations and set a vision for the future of the Seychelles up to the year 2040. The Strategy will deliver sustainable and integrated solutions for the economy; the community; and the environment and address a number of critical issues such as establishing opportunities for growth and sustainable locations where development will occur across Seychelles.

The Centre for GIS and IT support Services of the Ministry of Land Use and Housing (MLUH) already has developed its GIS & WebGIS which can be used to support analysis and visualization for the Plan.

See MLUH WebGIS, [To use the MLUH WebGIS, and up-to-date web browser such as Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Safari or Internet Explorer 9+ is required].

Reaching farmers with climate services in Malawi and Tanzania

What happens if the climate forecast and agro-advisory information produced at the beginning of the season do not reach farmers and pastoralists? Or what if they do but farmers and pastoralists fail to understand the forecast or what decisions they need to make?

Over 53 public and private sector stakeholders met in Malawi and Tanzania in April 2015 to ponder over these questions and many others. These meetings were held as part of the Global Framework for Climate Services (GFCS) Adaptation Programme for Africa; a multi-agency programme funded by the government of Norway. The meetings aimed to brainstorm on best possible ICT and radio interventions required to address gaps identified in existing climate and agriculture advisory information delivery systems. The workshops were jointly organized and undertaken by the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) and the World Food Programme (WFP).

Representatives of different sectors including climate, agricultural research and extension, farmer organizations, private sector cell phone providers such as Airtel and rural radio leaders discussed an ideal model for climate and agriculture advisory information flow in their countries. They then jointly identified and validated three components (content production, message delivery and end users feedback) of a successful national model for climate services communication to reach the end users.

Malawi: National agencies develop national hazards and vulnerability atlas

The Department of Disaster Management Affairs (DoDMA), the Department of Surveys, the National Statistics Office and other national stakeholders have partnered with the Regional Centre for Mapping of Resources for Development (RCMRD), with support from the SERVIR program to develop a comprehensive national hazards and vulnerability atlas covering the whole of Malawi.

The atlas and GIS database are identified as part of key result areas by the government of Malawi in its National Disaster Risk Management Policy to support disaster risk reduction in the country and prioritize areas for resilience building in Malawi. Moreover, through the United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) support, maps are being prepared for five climate change vulnerable districts namely: Karonga, Kasungu, Nsanje, Chikwawa and Salima.

A three-day workshop was held in Lilongwe 29 June – 3 July, 2015, to present the products developed by RCMRD experts in partnership with national experts, to a larger expert panel and to validate the developed maps that will form part of the national atlas and the wallmaps for the five districts. Read proceedings here.